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Encouraging Your Baby’s Movement: Tips and Techniques & the Importance of Tummy Time

Young baby on tummy on blanket crawling on floor

From the time of your baby’s birth, you’ve been watching them with so much love as they have eaten, pooped, and slept. (Even as YOUR sleep has been a bit less… plentiful.) And then it becomes time for them start moving!

Understanding baby milestones

Each baby is unique and hits milestones at their own pace along the way. From smiling to gripping objects, from babbling to rolling over, babies are often on their own schedule.

My first baby walked at 10 months, my second at 12 months, and my third at 16 months. They clearly had their own timetables. As long as you’re checking in with your doctor and your baby is healthy, they’ll hit their milestones in their own time.

Tummy Time is important:

The WHO recommends that babies under a year be physically active throughout the day including at least 30 minutes of tummy time spread throughout the day.

Tummy time can start as soon as your child is born and can begin with very short periods of as little as three minutes. This can be increased as your baby becomes older and more comfortable with the activity.

During tummy time, your baby will develop and strengthen the muscles in their neck, shoulders, arms and, when they start to kick, the muscles in their hips and legs. These are all muscles they’ll need to start looking around, rolling over, sitting up, and, eventually, crawling.

“As long as you’re checking in with your doctor and your baby is healthy, they’ll hit their milestones in their own time.”

To encourage your baby to love tummy time, lie on the floor facing them to keep them calm and happy. When they feel secure, they’re more likely to continue with the activity.

Place their favourite toys or books at or just beyond their reach. Rattle their toys, play music, or place a mirror on the floor under or in front of them to encourage them to lift their heads, to reach out, and to press up with their arms.

Your child will progress to pushing themselves up, making a move that resembles a push-up. Lie down with your baby to do push-ups with them. They’ll love the company and will want to keep mimicking your actions.

From there, most babies will get onto their hands and knees and rock back and forward. Again, you can join your baby in this movement. Play some music to make the activity fun.

Continue to place favourite toys, books, or other objects a few feet away to encourage your baby to move towards them. You can also set up a play tunnel, which your baby will be curious about moving through.

With their muscles strong, their enthusiasm high and their desire to move and roam free, babies will soon be crawling!

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